Friday

20th Apr 2018

Member states reject EU system of donating unsold food

  • MEPs want member states to 'provide incentives for the collection of unsold food products in food retail and food establishments and for their redistribution to charitable organisations'. (Photo: Ricardo)

EU member states are refusing to accept an idea by the European Parliament that would require them to set up a system for redistributing unsold food to charitable organisations.

The states, coming together in the Council of the European Union, reject the parliament's amendment to a European Commission proposal, outlining new rules on waste.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"In order to prevent food waste, member states should provide incentives for the collection of unsold food products in food retail and food establishments and for their redistribution to charitable organisations," MEPs wanted to add to the proposed legislation.

The amendment, however, is not acceptable to national governments, EUobserver learned through classified documents, which were obtained on condition of not citing directly from them.

The member states are also against including a so-called food waste hierarchy in the legal text - something which MEPs had advocated for.

The hierarchy designed by the MEPs would require member states to prioritise in the following order: prevention at the source; rescuing edible human food; then rescuing edible animal food; organic recycling; using food waste to produce energy; and disposal.

The EU countries rejected a parliamentary amendment, which would say: "Member states shall provide incentives for the prevention of food waste, such as setting up voluntary agreements, facilitating food donation or, where appropriate, taking financial or fiscal measures."

The Council is also refusing to grant the EU parliament's wish of setting out specific EU targets to reduce food waste.

MEPs want to specify that the bloc should throw away 30 percent less food in 2025, and 50 percent in 2030.

Instead, the Council wants to keep the original EU commission text, which is less specific.

"Member states should take measures to promote prevention of food waste in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015, and in particular its target of halving food waste by 2030," the commission's original proposal said.

The proposal was published in December 2015, and the Council and EU parliament are currently negotiating on its final version in talks, known in Brussels as trilogues.

A compromise deal, facilitated by the commission, is needed before the rules can become law.

The documents also showed that the Council wants to keep the parliament out of the procedure of creating a methodology to measure progress on reducing food waste.

The commission had proposed, which the Council supports, for this methodology to be set down in a so-called implementing act, a type of secondary legislation made through committees of national government representatives - and that does not involve the EU parliament.

MEPs, by contrast, want the methodology to be determined through a delegated act, which is also a type of secondary legislation but one that would give MEPs a chance to veto it if they are not satisfied.

The delegated versus implementing act scrum is a regular feature of negotiations between parliament and council.

Circular economy

The commission's legislative waste package also deals with how to increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

It was a reaction to a previously withdrawn proposal, which had been drafted by the previous administration, led by former EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

After the Jean-Claude Juncker commission faced a public backlash over withdrawing it, it introduced a new piece of legislation under the umbrella term circular economy.

At its presentation in December 2015, Juncker's right-hand man, Frans Timmermans, said the new package was more ambitious because it covered more aspects of the circular economy, but also because some of the targets were more realistic.

EU serves up soft proposals on food waste

In its Circular Economy strategy paper, published earlier this month, the EU Commission says nothing about a previously announced target to reduce food waste by 2025.

Meat 'taboo' debated at Bonn climate summit

Animal agriculture is responsible for a significant share of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, but until recently it 'was an issue that was really brushed under the carpet'.

Magazine

A sustainable death wish

No one can escape death. But choices over how one's body is disposed of could either lessen or increase your carbon footprint.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  2. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  3. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  4. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  5. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  6. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  7. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit
  8. Merkel and Macron meet to finetune eurozone reform plans

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeParabéNs! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  2. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  3. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  4. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  5. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  6. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  10. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector

Latest News

  1. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  2. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  3. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  4. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  5. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  6. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission
  7. Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties
  8. 'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  2. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  3. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  4. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  5. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  6. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  7. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  8. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  9. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  10. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  11. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  12. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership